This month's Bible study from Liz

Hang On to Hope

By Liz Curtis Higgs on Aug 29, 2018 01:42 am

August 2018 | Hold On to Hope | Liz Curtis HiggsLeah’s story — like many of our own — is tinged with disappointment and rejection. It’s also filled with hope. Glorious hope. Endless hope.

In Genesis 29 Leah gave her husband, Jacob, three healthy sons. But Jacob gave his heart to her beautiful younger sister, Rachel.

Sunflower One | Hang On to Hope

With each birth, Leah pleaded for relief from her heartache.

Leah never gave up. She never lost hope. And she never put aside her faith in the One who truly loved her.

Dahlia One | Hang On to Hope

During those years, Leah’s faith grew and matured. She discovered she was not alone and her life was not without purpose. Her God was with her. Her sons were with her. And before another season passed, her womb was full once more.

Zinia | Hang On to Hope

She conceived again,… Genesis 29:35

This was “the fourth time she conceived” (WYC), perhaps in as many years. All those little ones to care for, and yet God honored her hope and her prayers, and “she became pregnant again” (CEB).

Something remarkable happened during those nine months. It seems Leah looked at the children around her feet, gazed up at the heavens above, and realized how very much she was loved, how clearly blessed she was among women.

Wellington Flower | Hang On to Hope

…and when she gave birth to a son… Genesis 29:35

We have no record of her deliveries being especially difficult. She simply “childed a son” (WYC). Notice how she didn’t seek out Jacob, wanting his attention or affection. And she didn’t turn to her sister or her father or her neighbors, needing their approval.

With a heart full of joy, Leah lifted her voice to the One who mattered most.

Portugal Flower | Hang On to Hope

…she said, “This time…” Genesis 29:35

This time she chose wisely. Maybe not the other times, but this time she got it right. This time she turned to God, knowing she couldn’t change Jacob, but she could change herself.

Flowers with Butterfly | Hang On to Hope

“…I will…” Genesis 29:35

So decisive, so sure. “Now I shall acknowledge to the Lord” (WYC). Instead of blaming God for what she didn’t have, Leah began praising God for what she did have.

Church Door in Portugal | Hang On to Hope

“…praise the Lord.” Genesis 29:35

Translated with even more energy, “Now will I praise the Lord!” (AMP).

It’s the first time in the New International Version we find the phrase “praise the Lord,” spoken by a woman who could have complained to the Lord, pleaded with the Lord, railed at the Lord, yet she did none of those things.

Nova Scotia Flower | Hang On to Hope

Instead, Leah, the unseen bride, the unloved wife, finally understood she was loved by God.

So she was. And so are you, dear one.

Each of us must come to that Leah place — a place where God is enough, where his grace is enough, where his love truly is enough.

I finally reached that place five years after I met the Lord and mere days after I met Bill, now my sweet husband for 32 years and counting. Our first date was joy unspeakable. He’s the one! my heart kept whispering.

Yet when Bill left my house that evening, I called my best friend and said, “I just found the man of my prayers. And if he never calls me again, I’ll be okay.”

Dahlia Two | Hang On to Hope

That was a huge step for a woman like me, who’d spent a lost decade looking for love and settling for less. Much less. To find a terrific guy and yet be willing to let him go, knowing I was fully loved by God — that for me was the Leah place.

Have you landed there, friend? Do you know how much God loves you?

Leah’s four sons and her changed heart were living proof of God’s love for her.

Sunflower Two | Hang On to Hope

So she named him Judah. Genesis 29:35

The very sound of his name was like the Hebrew word for praise, as God gave Leah “a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isaiah 61:3).

The arrival of that fourth son of hers — that “praise the Lord” son — marked the start of something big. “For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah” (Hebrews 7:14). Much as we admire godly Joseph, Rebekah’s first son, it was kingly Judah, Leah’s fourth son, whom God chose to bear the royal seed.

Jerusalem Candle on Bible

The opening words of the New Testament tell the tale: “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah” (Matthew 1:1-2).

If we listed the mothers rather than the fathers, it would be Sarah, Rebekah, Leah: two beauties loved by their husbands and one tender-eyed woman loved by God.

Begonia | Hang On to Hope

This month’s post is adapted from the chapter “Morning Has Broken” in the updated edition of Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible, our featured Book by Book for August. You’ll find it on AmazonBarnes & Noble, and ChristianBook. Naturally, I have copies to give away!

Thorn in My Heart | Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible

Fifteen years ago, before I wrote Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible, I wrapped this Genesis story in tartan and heather for a series of Scottish historical novels, beginning with Thorn in My Heart. If you’d like to win both books, scroll down to comment on this post — perhaps something you’ve learned from our sister, Leah.

On Thursday, August 30 at 5:00pm EDT, I’ll choose five winners, contact each one by email, then pop your autographed copies of Thorn in My Heart and Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible in the mail.

What joy it is to open God’s Word with you, month by month, book by book

Your grateful sister, Liz

Liz Curtis Higgs

P.S. Our next Facebook LIVE event will be this Saturday, September 1 at 12:00noon EDT, as together we Embrace Grace. Can’t wait to welcome you to the Forgiven Life!

P.P.S. Missed our August 1 Facebook LIVE for Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible? Watch it here anytime. And if listening is your thing, you’ll find podcasts on each of our five Slightly Bad Girls here.

P.P.P.S. I’d love to connect with you in person this autumn at one of the 30 events where I’ll be speaking. Details here. Still feeling good, still going strong, thanks be to God!

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